How to negotiate an offer when a company doesn't negotiate

How to negotiate an offer when a company doesn't negotiate

“Set Rate” Offers

Companies sometimes adopt a compensation philosophy where they don’t negotiate job offers. These are called “set rate” offers and are a feature of companies like Coinbase, Figma, and Carta.

Companies usually adopt this philosophy to promote fairness in compensation, and it simplifies the hiring process to some degree (saving time and money). On the face, it may sound like there’s nothing you can do with these offers but take them or leave them. That’s usually not the case.

“Where is there room to negotiate?”

Many companies offer performance-based bonuses, signing bonuses, equity compensation, or PTO. These are all dimensions other than base salary to negotiate on. It doesn’t hurt to ask if any of these other types of compensation can come into the negotiation.

Presumably, if you’re at the offer stage, the hiring manager is excited to have you join. They do NOT want to lose you at this stage. This is a moment where you have some leverage. If you come prepared, you may be able to use that to negotiate a better offer.

Take some time before you talk to the hiring manager and decide for yourself what increases would make you willing to sign immediately. E.g. If they can’t budge on base salary but could extend a $20k signing bonus or extra equity, I’ll sign today. 

Once you’re on the phone, you can use that phrasing: “If you can do X, I’ll sign today”

Employers are much more open to asks at this stage from the sheer desire to get you locked in. The exception is if the ask is outside what the hiring manager can authorize without asking permission from Finance or their executive sponsor.

Negotiating in good faith

Don’t be an asshole. The only time we’ve seen offers be rescinded is when the candidate shows their true colors during the negotiation process and reveal that they won’t be pleasant to work with.

In this context, this means don’t negotiate if they’ve explicitly told you there’s no room for negotiation in that area. Set rate offers obviously don’t have room to negotiate on base salary. If you ask about a bonus and they refuse, repeating your ask will only reflect negatively on you.

It would really suck to lose the offer at this stage because you’re ungraciously pushing for just that extra bit of compensation. Especially if you don’t absolutely need it.

“Is there room to grow after I join?”

It’s critical for employers to reward high performance. It’s one thing if an employer doesn’t negotiate offers, but if you’re a high performer, you should expect to be rewarded accordingly after you’ve proven value on the job. 

Before you join a company, it can be critical to understand how they think about rewarding performance. If they don’t have a good answer, that may change your mind about joining that company. 

As you’re attempting to negotiate the offer, it’s the perfect moment to also ask about how they think about rewarding performance.

Ensuring the offer is fair

Just because a company does not negotiate offers does not mean the offer is market rate. Always check your offer against the latest, verified compensation benchmarks. FairComp offers a free pay analysis where you can compare your compensation or offer to the market rate for your role at your level (and the levels right above you).

FairComp can also help you in the negotiation process with our AI-powered negotiation coach trained on thousands of actual compensation negotiations.

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